A new year is dawning in space.
The seven crew members of Expedition 68 celebrated the arrival of 2023 on the International Space Station in holiday style, including Santa hats, streamers and an adapted Orthodox Christmas tree ahead of the celebration January 6 Russian.
“Just like back home, we have a tradition here of putting up a New Year tree and decorating the interior of the space station to celebrate the New Year. weightlessness,” said the Russian. cosmonaut
Sergey Prokopyev said in a video message from Roscosmos (opens in a new tab) on Thursday, December 29, with translation provided by state media provider TASS (opens in a new tab).
Alongside Prokopyev, Russian cosmonauts Dmitry Petelin and Anna Kikina put up tiny ornaments and performed somersaults, all under a colorful banner adorned with the words “New Year” in Cyrillic. Holiday cheer has also spread to the US side of the orbiting complex.
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https://t.co/iehc5iNMNBВидео: РоскосмосX pic.twitterDecember 29, 2022
In a NASA video uploaded last week, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata pledged to take an image of the first orbital sunrise of 2023 in one of the modules near the ISS Kibo module, also provided by Japan.
US astronauts have been quiet on social media over the holiday season, but in the meantime NASA has uploaded a few photos to Flickr (opens in a new tab) of the crew floating around the space station with Santa hats, stockings and holiday sweaters.
It will be a busy start to 2023 for the Expedition 68 crew after Russia figures out what to do with a Soyuz spacecraft that suddenly began leaking coolant on December 15. There is no immediate danger to the space station crew, but it is unknown if the Soyuz, called MS-22, can bring Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio back to Earth as planned.
Russia promised its “final decision” in January on whether to send a rescue Soyuz (which would arrive in February at the earliest) or bring the three affected crew members back aboard the Soyuz MS-22, according to informations.
NASA has also reached out to SpaceX to see if it would be possible to fly the trio home in a Crew Dragon spacecraft, if no other backups are available. Dragon Endeavor is currently docked at the space station, but it’s theoretically full as it’s scheduled to bring Mann, Cassada, Wakata, and Kikina back to Earth.
The cause of the Soyuz leak has yet to be determined, but follow-up scans of the spacecraft have revealed a hole in the radiator that could be from a micrometeoroid or a piece of space junk too small to track. . The three crew members of the Soyuz MS-22 could meanwhile find themselves without a lifeboat in the event of an emergency on the ISS.
Elizabeth Howell is co-author of “Why am I taller (opens in a new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book on space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in a new tab). Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) or Facebook (opens in a new tab).